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Rome Travel Guide  

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Rome, also known as the Eternal City, is the wonderful capital city of Italy and of its Latium region. It is located on the Tiber and Aniene rivers, on the Tiber River, in the central part of the country near the Tyrrhenian Sea and is blessed by a great Mediterranean climate. The Vatican City, recognized as an independent state by the Italian government since 1929, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and the home of the Pope.
Rome’s history is incredibly long (about 2800 years!) and really unique: for long time the city has been the most powerful and glorious one in the western world. According to the legend, everything started in 753 BC, when the city was founded on the Palatine Hill by Romulus, the first of seven kings which ruled Rome until 509 BC. Two of the last three kings were said to be Etruscan.
Around 510 BC, Rome became a Republic and it started an incredible expansion. By the end of the Republic the city was the only leader of a large empire dominating the whole of the Mediterranean.
After the civil wars of the 1st century BC., Julius Caesar became dictator and instituted a series of reforms: it was the end of the republic. However, the grandeur of Rome increased under Caesar Augustus (the first emperor ) and his successors.
Starting from the early 3rd century, matters changed: Rome formally remained capital of the empire but emperors spent less and less time there. In 330, Constantine established a second capital at Constantinople and even the later western emperors ruled from Milan or Ravenna, not Rome. This dark period got worse in 410 and 455 when Rome was sacked and profaned by invading Germanic tribes. Attempts were made to preserve the physical plant of the city in the face of growing chaos, but occupation by the Ostrogoths in the 6th century, subsequent Byzantine reoccupation, and concomitant destruction all contributed to a precipitous decline. The only social force remaining after the fall of the Roman Empire of the West was the Christian Church. Rome soon became the capital of the catholic world, and this would be the importance of Rome for more than a thousand years to come.
The city's fortunes began to improve in the 11th century and after the middle of the 15th century the city became a centre of Renaissance culture and it lived tranquil times until the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century. With the Napoleonic wars, the Pope was expelled, but he returned with the restoration after the war.
In 1871 Rome became the capital of united Italy. A great growth followed: whole new quarters were constructed and by the beginning of the 20th century the entire area within the ancient walls had been built up. High embankments were built along the Tiber to prevent floods, and most of the city was extensively modernized.
When the fascists, under Benito Mussolini’s guide, took over power in 1921, many additions and adaptations where made to Rome. As the discussed creation of the Via dei Fori Imperiali in front of the Vatican (for the construction of which a large part of the old Borgo neighbourhood was destroyed) and the founding of new quarters as the "Esposizione Universale di Roma simply known as Eur.
During the Second World War Rome suffered some heavy bombings and on June 4, 1944 it fell to the Allies.
Today, Rome is not only the charming capital of Italy and its political heart but, as the seat of the Roman Catholic church and the headquarters of major international agencies and multinational corporations, a modern city that has assumed a place of worldwide importance.
Thanks to its incredibly rich heritage of archaeological and artistic treasures, the Eternal City is without any doubts one of the most popular and famous tourist destinations in the whole world, too. Every year thousands of tourists visit Rome and many of them live a piece of their heart in it.

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santi Pietro e Paolo
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Reviews Rome

Robert Bale
Level 100     6 Trophy   
Overall rating 6
Overall Guide : WEEK END IN ROME Friday Morning Vatican tour Visit the smallest sovereign country in the world, its largest Church and fascinating Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces by Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini, discovering history, culture and secrets of the Papal State. The Vatican... more City is about 108 acres large; it has a railway station, a radio station, beautiful gardens, and about 100 Swiss Guards which are protecting it. Tour will start with Vatican Museums, one of the largest Museums in the world with its 5 miles of galleries, through the Gallery of Candelabra, decorated by hundreds of ancient statues, the Gallery of Tapestries, with some beautiful Flemish and roman tapestries with odd prospective illusions, and the Gallery of Geographical Maps, decorated with maps showing Italy from south to North, in 1500s. Then we’ll reach the hearth of the Renaissance quarters, once used as the apartment of Popes, decorated by Raphael, and the private papal chapel, the amazing Sistine Chapel. The ceiling shows the creation of the world and it was painted by the genius of Michelangelo in only 4 years. This place has been always used as the private chapel of Popes and for the Conclave, the election of Popes. We’ll leave the Chapel from the special exit for tour guides, to reach St. Peter’s Basilica the largest church in the world, built on the tomb of the Apostle Peter, crucified up side down, as a criminal, by the emperor Nero, during pagan times. The church was built in over 120 years, and it holds the most beautiful masterpieces of Bernini and the famous sculpture ‘Pietà’ by Michelangelo. Friday Afternoon The old Rome: Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps Time for a quick lunch in one of the typical roman trattoria and we’ll be ready for a nice stroll in the downtown, an open air museum. Leaving St. Peter’s we’ll pass in front of the imposing Castle St. Angel, Papal fort and jail, to reach one of the most gorgeous squares of Rome, Piazza Navona, a large piazza surrounded by cosy cafes and restaurants. Piazza Navona is keeping the shape and size of the structure which lies underneath: the stadium of Domitian, where Romans were holding sport competitions in ancient times. Nowadays the square is full of street artists making portraits and caricatures to the tourists. In the middle of the square the beautiful fountain of four rivers by Bernini. Next stop at Pantheon the best preserved ancient temple of the entire Mediterranean area, with its widest dome in Rome; actually Michelangelo didn’t dare to build a widest one for St. Peter’s, so the Pantheon measures 43 metres of diameter and St. Peter’s is only 42,60! Then we’ll admire and throw the 3 coins in the famous Trevi Fountain, celebrated in famous movies such as ‘Roman Holiday’, ‘Three coins in the fountain’, ‘La dolce Vita’. A quick stop for a homemade ‘gelato’, the best in town is in this area and then last stop will be at the fancy shopping area of Spanish Steps, ready to fulfil all our fashion desirers. Saturday Morning Ancient Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill, Piazza Venezia Join this amazing tour and experience 2758 years of ancient ruins and intriguing history. Visit the Colosseum, the astonishing structure which is still standing in Rome after centuries of barbarians’ invasions and decadence, where the emperors used to kill enemies of nation, gladiators, and animals. The amphitheatre was completed in only 8 years, it could hold about 54.000 spectators, and it was inaugurated by the emperor Titus with an event which lasted 100 days. We’ll reach the ancient downtown of the city of Rome, the Roman Forum, the public square of Rome, enriched by statues, temples, arches, symbols of the imperial power. We’ll follow the triumphal route on the Sacred Way, admiring the Titus Arch, built as memory of the victory against Judea; the well preserved Temple of Antoninus and Faustine, the circular temple of the sacred Vestal Virgins, the only priestess in town in ancient times, the tomb and temple of Julius Caesar, the ancient Senate building, and the top of the Capitoline hill reaching the square designed by the genius of Michelangelo on smallest hill of Rome now site of the city hall. Then we’ll end up in Piazza Venezia, where we’ll find the most imposing building in Rome, the Victor Emmanuell II monument, symbol of the Unification of Italy in 1870 dedicated to our first king. The building is so huge and massive that Romans nicknamed it ‘the Wedding Cake’. On the side of it, Palazzo Venezia an early Renaissance palace once headquarters of the fascist dictator Mussolini. Saturday Afternoon Borghese Gallery Start this amazing tour with the Galleria Borghese, the queen of private collections in Europe, in the heart of Rome's most beautiful park, now place for romantic strolls, bike rides and jogging. The Villa was created in 1620s by the Cardinal Scipione Borghese as his golden retreat just outside the city wall. This cardinal was belonging to one of the most powerful families in Rome, and he was nephew of Pope Paul V. At that time, this position meant an immense power that the cardinal used on the artists, to have the best pieces of their production. He used his power to get some works by Caravaggio, by Domenichino and it is famous the way he got the ‘Deposition of Christ’ by Raphael: he stole it from a church in Perugia during night time. The population of that town wanted the painting back, but the Cardinal just sent a copy back to them. The villa was enriched by the cardinal and his descendents with enchanting works of art, ancient, Renaissance, Baroque masterpieces, such as the David, Apollo and Daphne, the Rape of Proserpine by Bernini, David and Goliath by Caravaggio, Portrait of a dame by Raphael, Titian’s most beautiful work of art, the Sacred and Profane Love and the famous portrait of Napoleon’s sister, Paolina Borghese by Canova. Sunday Morning Villa D’este, Tivoli East of Rome, Tivoli offers the most enchanting garden of Italy rich of its sublime and spectacular fountains: Villa D’Este. This villa was built by Ippolito d’Este, renaissance prince, collector and patron of arts, son of Duke Ercole D’Este and Lucrezia Borgia. The residence is entirely upstaged by the gardens set on descending series of terraces, among palm trees and cypresses water shoots and cascades where the cardinal kindly entertained his famous guests, musicians, poets and writers in 1500s. The fountains are offering the history and geography of the surroundings: Rometta is a fountain with symbols of city of Rome, Ovato is decorated with statues of rivers and mythological Tivoli’s figures, the three fishponds created to supply the cardinal with fresh fish for his meals were copied by the Imperial Palace in Hadrian’ Villa. The gardens include also some amazing mechanisms such as the fountain of the Organ, which used to sound with the water, and the fountain of Owl, which was giving an entertain performance of singing birds. Sunday Afternoon Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli Villa Adriana is the site of an imposing architectural complex dating to Hadrian's time; a 180 acre spread largest villa ever built in the entire Roman Empire. Adrian lived at the height of the Roman Empire, and he is the emperor which built the Pantheon, in Rome and restyled the port of Rome, Ostia. The series of palaces, baths, etc. were meant to remind him, here in Italy, of the places he most loved in Greece and the Near East. The most impressive sites in the villa are the Canopo, copied by the one in Alexandria of Egypt; the Maritime Theatre, an artificial island where the emperor used as retreat to write poetries; the Pecile, a rectangular pond surrounded by a colonnade; the fishpond in the imperial palace and the subway, an underground tunnel used by the servants to carry material from one side to the other side of the villa without been seen by the guests. Even though the villa has been sacked for centuries, it amazes its visitors with its astonishing and overwhelming architectures. Week-end by Federica D'Orazio - www.guidaturisticaroma.it The city of Rome is so full of wonderful attractions, that it will really impossible to report them all in one page! However, here is a list of the most famous sights that you shouldn’t really miss. A good way to start the visit is surely from the wide Piazza del Popolo, the northern end of Via del Corso, where the church of S. Maria del Popolo was erected and where you can admire the exceptional paintings by Caravaggio, the Conversione of St. Paul and the Crucifixion of St. Peter. The twin churches of S. Maria di Monte Santo and S. Maria de’ Miracolo are also there. From Piazza del Popolo you can easily reach another of the most popular spots in the Eternal City: Piazza di Spagna. Once here, you can have a relaxing rest or take some photos to the world famous Spanish Steps. Just at the top of the steps, another beautiful spot: Trinità dei Monti, where the small church Trinità dei Monti is located. Piazza Spagna is situated in a very strategic position for tourists because from this lovely square almost all the roman most important sights, are at walking distance: the impressive Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), the great Pantheon, the charming Piazza Navona and Piazza Venezia, the historic Fori Imperiali (the political and religious centre in ancient Rome) and the massive Colosseum (one of the world's most famous buildings, built an elliptical shape that measures over 530 meters in circumference and could hold over 50,000 people). Another great place to visit, while in Rome, is definitely Trastevere, one of the oldest parts of Rome, situated right in the very heart of the city. Trastevere is an area bustling with life during the day, but it is also lively by night. It is famous for the number of good restaurants to be found where you can taste wonderful pizzas or other great Italian dishes together with beer or wine. Right in the middle of Trastevere, you cant miss St. Maria di Trastevere, a wonderful church known for its unique 12th century mosaic works that adorn the walls. From Trastevere, you can also walk a little and visit the Gianicolo, which is one of the seven hills that surround Rome, and you will be rewarded by an impressive view of the city. Some other great sights in Rome are in order: Altare della Patria, Arch of Constantine ( a Triumphal arch celebrating the victory of Constantine I over Maxentius, 312 CE) , Arch of Gallienus, Arches of Marcus Aurelius (Two lost arches dedicated to emperor Marcus Aurelius) , Aurelian Walls, Aventine Hill, Baths of Agrippa, Baths of Caracalla, Campo dei Fiori, Castel Sant’Angelo, Circus Maximus, EUR, Fontana del Mosé, Mausoleum di Eurysace, Meta Sudans, Palazzo Barberini, Palazzo del Quirinale, Palazzo Farnese, Palazzo Madama, Palazzo Odescalchi, Palazzo Venezia, Piazza Bocca della Verità, Piazza Bocca della Verità, Piazza di Porta Maggiore, Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele II, Ponte Milvio (a Roman bridge on the Via Flaminia crossing the Tiber River), Ponte Principe Amedeo Savoia Aosta, Porta Maggiore, Porta Ostiense, Porta Labicana, San Lorenzo fuori delle Mura, San Nicola in Carcere, San Pietro in Vincoli, San Sebastiano fuori delle mura, Santa Costanza, Temple of Apollo, Temple of Divus Claudius, Temple of Hadrian, Temple of the Virile Fortune, Temple of Vesta, Theatre of Marcellus, Tiber River and the tiny but charming Tiberine Island. Don’t forget that Rome is also the house of the Vatican City State, the capital of the Catholic church. Saint Peter's Square, the square in front of the Basilica of St. Peter, is one of the most famous places in the whole world and it will surely remain in the heart of the tourists.
Andrissa Ferreira
Overall rating 9
Overall Guide : Rome is historically magnificent and has much to do for those who seek city holidays. If you are into food and wine there is a lot of varied experiences that will entice you to literally spend numerous days just trying... more new restaurants. However, make sure to visit Vatican City, the Parthenon and of course places like the Colosseum and Forum. These sites will not only remind you of the cultural significance of this bustling city, but if you are a film fanatic, La Boca (the mouth of truth) and of course The Trevi Fountain will remind you of numerous films you may have appreciated. Ask knowledgeable hotel staff to help plan trips and recommend places to eat, but don't be scared to use the city's hop on - hop off busses as well. These give a great tourist view and easy access to many sites.
Overall rating 9
Overall Guide : You will walk a ton! Very fun place, very amazing. The Colesseum is a must go to place, obviously. If you can, get a tour guide because it helps to have someone tell you about. I only wish I could... more have gone in the lower passageways. If you can that is really cool. Number one thing is to find a hotel that is central to everything worth notice in Rome. Unless you want to get no exercise, and take transportation everywhere. But really, you're supposed to walk in Europe. That way, you don't miss anything.
Not to be missed Colosseo , Pantheon , Spanish Steps
Ric T
Overall rating 9
Overall Guide : It's Rome!!! What more can be said. There are so many famous and historical sites to see and visit it is hard to list or prioritize. From the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain to the Vatican and the Coliseum. Churches,... more galleries and museums galore. It's very easy to get around the city and you will find the Roman people for the most part are friendly and hospitable. Take the time to plan your days ahead of time to maximize the attractions you wish to see.
Level 13     1 Trophy    Viaggia: Family
Overall rating 8
Overall Guide : Rome is a city with history, culture. wonderful city in Europe to tour the way you want mostly walking. It was nice to see Colosseum, Trevie fountain, Victor Emanuel monument, Spagna, the ruins of old Rome and Trojan column, Forum,... more the baths and incredible St Peters Basilica and Vatican museum and Sistine chapel, walking along the river Tiber was an experience. Best tip: arrive at Rome airport and reach your hotel near Termini train station either by Leonardo express or terravision bus and back in the same way. No taxi or bus during the stay (4- 5 days), all by walking to out Rome is a wonderful experience.
Rosalind Santarelli
Level 9     1 Trophy    Viaggia: Solo
Overall rating 6
Overall Guide : Great monuments. It's a magic place. I have lived tehre for 10 years and loved Rome, been exasperated by the traffic and lack of transport and no parking but there is just a wonderful feeling when you walk along the... more windy back streets breathing in the smell of coffee or you follow a crowd of people to Sant Eustachio because you have been told that you can't leave Rome without tasting that coffee. 511 churches and I had the dubious pleasure of visiting them all with my sister who was studying Fine Arts. Santa Maria della Vittoria with Bernin's, Saint Theresa in Ecstasy, San Francesco della Ripa with Bernin's Blessed Ludovica.
Not to be missed Roman Forum and colesseum , Pantheon , Campo de' Fiori
Leigh D
Overall rating 8
Overall Guide : A place jammed packed with history, every corner turned brings a new experience. The "Hop on Hop Off" bus is a great way to get araound & see all the major attractions. Taxis are reasonably priced. Downside for powered transport... more is the small streets and traffic congestion but there is so much to see on foot that is always close by.
Atul Handa
Overall rating 8
Overall Guide : Wonderful place, historical, well connected & well kept. Would like to visit again. Group passes for Public transport are cheap & useful. Flowing water from any fountain is potable so do not waste money on bottled water anywhere in Rome. Use... more toilets of any nearby cafe or restaurant free of charge, none can refuse else u can report to the authorities. Keep sufficient number of days to visit Rome, after all, it wasn't built in a day.
Max Parini
Level 17     1 Trophy   
Overall rating 10
Overall Guide : Vatican museum with the sistine chapel and s.peter basilica, Coloseum, tha appian way and the catacombs, the Pantheon, Navona square,spanish steps, people square,S.maria del popolo, minerva's square, lunch in the tipical roman trattoria or osteria. All this is going to... more be possible in a day only if you have a personal tour guide with you. Ciao
Not to be missed Vatican Museums , Colosseum , Catacombs of St. Sebastian
Linda Pryor
Level 9     1 Trophy    Viaggia: Family
Overall rating 10
Overall Guide : Forum, Colloseum, Pantheon, Baths of Caracalla, Vatican, Spanish steps, Trevi fountain... there is so much to see in Rome, everytime you turn a corner there is something else which shows how much history there is in rome. I went for... more 3 nights and raced around to try and fit everything in. Wished I'd gone for at least 5 nights, would love to return again in the future.
Not to be missed Baths of Caracalla , Pantheon
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